Thursday, December 9, 2010

Chapter 20 - The Scene

Every novel I write seems to have a big, pivotal scene that haunts me for weeks, months--even years. It comes floating into my brain and I scribble it over and over and over again. I don't even know how many times I wrote this scene. It ended so many different ways. I rewrote it again today--without even looking back at my early attempts. They didn't fit anymore. But those early drafts got me all the way here and to this version of CAYMAN SUMMER's big scene.

I always wonder if these scenes that were so important to me in developing the novel feel as important to the readers. Does this seem pivotal? Or has every step been pivotal? Writing a novel this way feels kind of episodic, but when I go back and revise I need to look at overall story arc and make sure the intensity grows. This book has been uber intense from the first chapter. I don't know if I can or want to change that. But I need to try to build from there. Slacking off for a few chapters of relative calm helps achieve that. I'm tempted to stop and spend the next several weeks revising, but I'm as driven as you all are to get the first draft of the novel down on paper, so I won't leave you hanging here. More tomorrow. I promise.



Dive Buddy: Leesie           
Date:  06/17
Dive #:
Location: Grand Cayman
Dive Site:
Weather Condition:
Water Condition:
Water Temp: 
Bottom Time:  

            I’m lying on my cot in the living room trying not to wake up. I dozed again after everyone left for the 8 AM dive. I’m teaching at ten. Get to sleep in.
            The scent and sizzle of bacon Leesie’s frying up in the kitchen seems worth opening my eyes for.
            “Hey, sleepyhead.” She’s upbeat this morning. “You want some of this?”
            I sit up, rub sleep gunk out of my eye corners. “You know I do.”
            “Get over here and earn it then.”
            I stumble through the chaos of all the guys beds and crap to the kitchenette where she’s working in front of the stove. She’s wearing bikini bottoms and a tiny tank top. “You’re looking good this morning.” I hope she didn’t wear that in front of the rest of the guys.
            She tosses me a glance over her shoulder and sees that I can’t take my eyes of her butt. She giggles. “You’re a mess.”
            “Are you going to feed me like this every morning after we’re married?” I rest my hands on her hip bones and kiss her neck.
            She tilts her head to one side, and I keep moving my lips along her neck and shoulder.
            “Naw—I’ll put you on tofu—don’t want you getting fat.”
            My hands drift to her stomach. “You’re in no danger of that.” I close my eyes—caress her skin—enjoy the subtle changes I discover. “You taste good, too.” I chew on her neck some more.
            “That’s the bacon.”
            Banter. That’s all I get from her the past couple days. She won’t be serious—won’t accept the news we got from Stan for what’s worth—won’t call her parents—won’t let me. She’s still the guiltiest person in the universe. Won’t let it go. Blames herself even more now. I’m not sure what to try next.
            Freak. I sucked too long on her neck. I rub the ugly red spot. “Sorry, babe.” I kiss it.
            She reaches back and strokes my cheek. “I’m a marked woman now.”
            “I didn’t mean to.”
            She turns a piece of bacon over with a fork. “Mean the next one or you don’t get breakfast.”
            She holds a crispy piece of bacon up and wafts it close to my nose. “Get to work.”
            I catch her mood. What will it hurt? “Okay. Okay.” I rub her bare shoulders and plant a kiss in the middle of her back. “Where do you want it?”
            She tips her head the other way and points to the spot where her neck and shoulder meet. “Let’s see how long you can hold your breath.”
            I laugh, hug her from behind, and start my free dive breathing cycles.
            “Stop stalling.”
             I blow air out all over her neck.
            She wriggles with pleasure.
            I inhale, inhale, pack it and then slowly, gently I place my lips back on her skin.
            She melts into me.
            My hands go back to her supple stomach. She feels so good. My lips suck harder and harder on her soft skin. She reaches up with one hand and combs her fingers through my hair, turns off the stove top and pushes the frying pan off the heat with the other.
            She’s got both hands in my hair now—won’t let me stop sucking on her neck. Not like I want to. I close my eyes. Immerse in the moment. My hands stroke her stomach with more and more intensity, drift to her ribs, higher—
            I touched her.
            I dart away from her and stare at my hands. “I’m sorry, babe. Forgive me. I’m sorry.”
            She slumps over the stove. “Did I gross you out that much?”
            “What? Stop it. That’s stupid. I just made you sin.”
            She turns around. “Come back.” She laughs. “Let’s sin some more.”
            “Be serious. What do we do now?”
            “Whatever you want.”
            “I mean to fix it.”
            “Don’t bother. Nothing can fix me.”
            “I’m calling your dad.” I head for my cell phone, but she gets there first.
            She backs away, clutching the cell phone to her chest. “You’re so not calling my dad.”
            I close my eyes—can’t look at her another second, or I’ll be all over her—try hard to think. What do we do? There’s something important I can’t quite remember. The red face of the president guy from her church back home—Jaron’s dad, no less—forms in my brain. I remember how angry I was when she told me she talked to him after our break him—told him about that night after the dance down by the pig barn when I marked up her stomach like I just stained her neck. “How about we call your president guy, then?”
            “Jaron’s dad? I’m not confessing to him.”
            My eyes open. I step towards her with my hand out for the phone. “But this wasn’t just making out or giving you a hickey. I crossed the line. Major sin—that’s what you used to call it.”
            “It doesn’t matter any more. Why don’t you believe me?” She puts the phone behind her back.
            “Because I’m still listening to the old Leesie.”
            “Don’t—she lost.”
            “Let’s find her. Please. Can Jaron’s dad help?”
            She scowls. “I don’t live there anymore. He’s not my branch president.”
            “Is there one here?”
            I pick up my laptop, flip it open, type, “Mormons in Grand Cayman” in the Google box. Yes. “Look, babe.”
            She won’t.
            There’s a picture of a small, gray boxy church with an unmistakable Mormon steeple. And a phone number.
            I snag Leesie’s phone out of her room. Dial. Get somebody’s wife.
            But she says he’ll be at the church tonight.


  1. WOW ..
    poor michael, i miss the old leesie too
    is he gonna call back ?

  2. Holy jeez! Now we're getting somewhere. I mean not that it was okay at all what Michael did. But wow! Things are going to change now..I miss the old Leesie and am excited for her to come back. I Love Michael, he is such a great guy, this can be good or bad for him, them, all of it. Whether Leesie goes to the bishop, and if Michael let's himself feel something spiritual again..because we all know he did. HE DID!!!

  3. you should just keep writing chapter by chapter like you are doing right now. when you read comments, we let you know how good it is and you ask for our suggestions. I am still going to buy the book eve if i am going to read all the chapters. iLove what you are doing and you shouldnt stop :)

  4. Today's post is EPIC! it's the you've been reading for hours and it's time for bed so you read yesterdays poem and think okay just one more page then you read this and you know your done for your not putting this book down till you know how it ends! ~myrrhaya~

  5. I definitely think this was the pivoting point. Woah...a lot more action here. Leesie honestly doesn't care anymore. She's just becoming worse and worse. Michael needs to do something!

  6. Yes, this defenitely the pivitol scene! And even though it makes me sad to see Leesie SO different and uncaring about what happens, it brings out how much Michael has changed. In Taken by Storm (at least in the first half of the book) Michael did not think that was a sin at all, now he's the one saying its a sin and Leesie's pressuring him! So crazy. I can't even imagine what will happen at the church. I really hope a little bit of Leesie will come back...

  7. Can't wait for the next post. That is all.

  8. It definitely seems like a turning point -- and amazing how different they both are! I don't want to seem critical (because I'm loving this), but I'm guessing you want our feedback. My initial reaction was that a couple of things seemed a little extreme -- what Leesie is wearing for one and Michael's proclamation of "major sin" for what I got the impression was a pretty quick -- albeit inappropriate -- touch (it was the impression of how brief the touch was that seemed a little incongrous to me with "major sin"). Maybe that's the point you're trying to make -- how far each of them have gone as opposed to how they once were. As always, I can't wait to see where the story goes!

  9. Thanks, Gayle. You're right. I can make that work better. And maybe I'll put Leesie in shorts.

  10. It does show how far each has come-- he is sooo ready for the old leesie, who is hidden somewhere. It is a big scene- shows how much he loves and respects her.
    Now we just need her back and all will be good ;)